There have been a few blocked pipes and drains recently in the Colonies. Since most or all Colonies flats have shared drainage systems, it is the residents of lower flats who, unfortunately, usually bear the consequences of inappropriate items going down the drain of both uppers and lowers but it is very much the responsibility of all of us to ensure we take great care in preventing inappropriate waste from slipping down plugholes in the sink, basin, shower, bath or WC. Our Victorian drainage system, whilst adequate in most respects, may, in the design of the pipework contain a “trap” which was designed to keep a level of water in situ to avoid waste smells coming back up the pipe (the equivalent of our modern “S” bends or “traps” in use on kitchen sinks, washing machines and other appliances).
In order to keep the blockage risk to a minimum, please dispose all of the following items in a bin and not down the loo or a plughole:
‘Wet wipes’, ‘baby wipes’ and sanitary waste, even those items sold as ‘flushable’ or ‘disposable’ should be disposed of in a bin and definitely not via the loo, as, by their very nature, they absorb fluid, can expand within the pipework at a restricted section (eg. the “trap”) and result in a blockage.
Coffee grounds and tealeaves – as they are not completely water-soluble so when grounds mix with butter, oil or grease already coating the pipes, there’s an increased risk for clogs. They are, however, good for composting (so can be included in our weekly food waste collection);
Butter, margarine, lard, cooking oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise and other fats – as they mix very easily with all other waste and contribute greatly towards creating drain blockages;
Rice and pasta – whether cooked or not, swell up and clog pipes;
Dips, yoghurt etc;
Flour – coagulates and hardens inside drainage pipes;
Unused shampoo, beauty products, body scrubs and solid soap scum;
Hair – try to prevent it from going down bath, shower and washbasin plug-holes;
Medication – drop off all unused and/or expired medicines at pharmacy;
Paint, oil, lubrication and chemicals.
Anyone who’s been unfortunate enough to have a blocked drain nearby or in their house can vouch for this very unpleasant experience to be avoided at all costs so please take heed!